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House of Commons Hansard
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Removal of Royal Mail Postal Collection
27 February 2018
Volume 636

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I rise to present a petition about the removal of the Royal Mail postal collection box on the High Street in Cottenham. The petition states

“that the residents and Parish Council of Cottenham in South Cambridgeshire are adversely affected by the removal of the Royal Mail postal collection box on the High Street”

and requests that the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government should make representations to Royal Mail to reinstate a collection box in the vicinity better to support residents in this rural area. The petition also states that the petitioners urge the Ministry and

“the Royal Mail to support the earliest possible re-instatement of a collection box in the central section of Cottenham High Street, one of the longest in England.”

This is an important issue for hundreds of my elderly residents, who rely heavily on being able to access a postbox in a rural location. I pay special thanks to Audrey Brownlow and Councillor Frank Morris for first bringing this to my attention and for their tireless efforts. We look forward to a considered response from the Minister.

Following is the full text of the petition:

[The petition of residents of Cottenham, South Cambridgeshire,

Declares that the residents and Parish Council of Cottenham in South Cambridgeshire are adversely affected by the removal of the Royal Mail postal collection box on the High Street; and further that the Department of Communities and Local Government should make representations to Royal Mail to re-instate a collection box in the vicinity to better support residents in such rural areas.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Royal Mail to support the earliest possible re-instatement of a collection box in the central section of Cottenham High Street, one of the longest in England.

And the petitioners remain, etc.

[P002112]

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We now move on—[Interruption.] The hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Helen Goodman) has been thirsting to raise a point of order, mercifully briefly, I think, so I do beg her pardon.

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On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I wish to raise a point of order about the handling of the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill in Committee. We agreed to have three days in Committee, and the Government set out an order of consideration that put clause 1 first. The Programming Sub-Committee then moved the consideration of clause 1 to after clause 18. When we reached that point this afternoon, the Government Whip moved that the Committee should adjourn. We opposed that on the grounds that we had had only two and a half hours for consideration, and we had another 40 clauses, 50 amendments and three schedules still to go. I do not know whether it is because the Government are afraid of a debate on the Magnitsky amendments to clause 1 or ashamed of their record on anti-money laundering, but were Government Whips to do this regularly, it would be possible to completely fillet the Committee stage. I seek your guidance, Mr Speaker, on what we can do about this.

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I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her—I use this term in a non-pejorative sense—attempted point of order, and I am grateful to her for giving me advance notice. The reality, colleagues, is that the orderly conduct of business in a Public Bill Committee is a matter not for the Chair in this Chamber, but for the Chair in that Committee. I do not disregard or seek to rebut what the hon. Lady says about the logical course of events that could flow were this to be a regular practice, but nothing she has said leads me to believe that anything disorderly took place. It may well have been extremely vexing, and perhaps even a source of considerable consternation to the hon. Lady and others, but that is not the same as saying that anything disorderly took place. I have every confidence that the right hon. Member for Chesham and Amersham (Dame Cheryl Gillan), who I understand chaired the proceedings, would have ensured that that was so.

The Committee took a decision to adjourn its proceedings to another day, and the hon. Lady opposed that decision and found herself, in the process, in a minority. I venture to suggest—again, I do so non-pejoratively—that this is not the first time that that has happened. Conceivably, it might not even be the last. The hon. Lady’s brow is furrowed, and what I mean by that is that this will not be the only occasion on which she has voted in a particular direction and found herself outnumbered. It is quite a commonplace experience if one is in opposition. It may be that the hon. Lady’s concerns about the conduct of proceedings in the Committee on the Bill can be assuaged during their course. If not, I do not doubt that she will find her salvation during her contributions on Report, which I have to say I await myself with keen anticipation. I think we must leave the matter there for now. If the hon. Lady was in pursuit of an immediate resolution of her grievance, that might have been optimistic. This is the best that I can offer her at this stage.

We come now to the Adjournment, for which the hon. Member for Charnwood (Edward Argar) has been so patiently waiting.